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Paying for social care (older people)

Looking after other people’s money

This page covers:
• Why family or friends became involved with managing someone else’s money
• Examples of what people did to manage money and spending

When older relatives started to need help at home or to pay for care, family members often became more aware of their relatives’ finances and how well they were managing them. This helped with managing paying for care but also helped in other areas as well, such as getting better deals on utility bills and spotting possible scams.

Getting the best returns on money

Some older people had quite large sums of money in the bank. For example, when people moved to a care home and sold their house, there could be significant sums of money to deal with. Families were often responsible for finding the best place for the money to give good returns to help pay for care.

 

Hannah explains that it is important not to have too much money in one account.

Hannah explains that it is important not to have too much money in one account.

Age at interview: 53
Sex: Female
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If there is a large sum of money; so people need to protect themselves with regards to their funding, so if the, if savings are over £85,000 then you need to find a bank account that you’re getting a savings rate on for every £85,000 tranche that you’ve got. That means presenting your Power of Attorneys, every time you have to go and spend time sitting in front of a bank clerk, because they’re all things that just cannot be done online. National Savings is good, but again you have to send off all the paperwork. So it would be helpful to know that, you know, go to one of the websites, moneysupermarket.com, etc to know that they’re there to help you, but it’s a case of actually trawling the high street banks because they’re the easiest ones to open the accounts with.

And so, and then you also mentioned a threshold of £85,000 as a sort of a pocket of savings; could you just explain to me a little bit more about that?

So that’s to do with the finance; so after the economic crash in 2007 there was something called the Financial Services Compensation and therefore the first £85,000 of savings for any individual is protected in banks, but if you have over £85,000 and that bank was to go bust you would not receive the residual amount. So it’s quite important to look at if you are self-funding and definitely from a parent that’s in the south east, yeah.

 

Simon reviewed all his dad’s bills and took advice from a financial adviser.

Simon reviewed all his dad’s bills and took advice from a financial adviser.

Age at interview: 60
Sex: Male
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Because he’s one of these people who the system of, you know the system now where, whereby there are good deals on insurance and good deals on electricity and gas and everything else, as long as you have the wherewithal to look, and he’s the classic case of someone who never looks because he doesn’t, he just thinks I’ve been with them a long time, they’ll be fine. So when I took over his finances totally he was being charged appalling amounts for insurance, you name it he was paying the highest rate there was. So after I’d dealt with his finances he was actually [laughs] much better off than when he started, not that I’m a financial wizard; like I said, I didn’t know anything about this. So I actually, I put all his, not all of, a lot of his money into income bonds that pay interest and are secure and so on, so. And the financial advisor told, well he didn’t tell me, he advised me that, “Things like that put in your name with a note from your dad saying he is doing this as a loan.” Because I was really worried about him being scammed, because he was scammed for the roof and he was scammed for his cheque book. So I was worried that this money that he’d got with his access to it, he would lose. So we transferred it, like this advisor said, to my name with a legally signed thing saying that he was sending it over as a loan.

Some older people recognised that they were struggling to manage their money and asked their partner, children, or someone else they trust to help out. When people started to look after their loved ones’ affairs, they were often shocked to find things had been neglected for a while. Sometimes people were paying much more than they should for goods and services. When family members started to look after their accounts they were able to get better deals on utility bills, insurance and other household spending. This could all help with paying for care.

 

Tracey’s mum had been managing the joint account but Tracey realised things were slipping.

Tracey’s mum had been managing the joint account but Tracey realised things were slipping.

Age at interview: 59
Sex: Female
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They’d always had joint accounts, because mum did the money really; so that was fine. but then it sort of became apparent that mum wasn’t quite on top of things and I think dad was bef, he was at home, before he was declining, and then I realised that things were slipping at home with him too, as in things weren’t getting opened and; he was always fastidious and things and then it, I realised that they hadn’t got their car MOT’d and things, and then I had to arrange that from afar, you know, and no insurance on it; and just found out that by accident, you know? So that’s when it star, that’s when we started to realise that we were going to have to take things over for them, when dad was in decline, yeah.

 

Lynne complained to the bank about letting her parents accumulate too much money in their current account.

Lynne complained to the bank about letting her parents accumulate too much money in their current account.

Age at interview: 65
Sex: Female
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What happened was they banked with Lloyds [laughs] and when I managed to, I say gain control, that’s quite a strong word, but when I managed to intervene in their financial affairs, it was obvious that they weren’t coping with all their money; they didn’t even realise they had all this money; and I had a go at Lloyds Bank because there was, you could have bought a small house with what was in their current account, and I just had a go at Lloyds for like, “Well, you know, you can’t let them.” If someone had got their bank card like, you know. So the first thing I did was to move their money about so that it was safe, and then because I knew they’d got a lot of money; I have a financial advisor and I invested some through him in their name.

 

Mark was able to cap the telephone bill for his father and block expensive calls.

Mark was able to cap the telephone bill for his father and block expensive calls.

Age at interview: 58
Sex: Male
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I was really worried that he would give people his credit card details. so we, basically we told his provider that if they didn’t put a ban on 0800 numbers being used from his number we would just close his account and so they did do that, but I think we ran up, or he ran up three months of really hefty phone bills. So we were really worried that he would be taken advantage of like that, and not only his health but also and actually that’s one of the really good things about him being in the care home is that because he doesn’t have any credit cards, he doesn’t need them, all his costs are included in the in the amount that we pay, and so the three, my siblings and I all have care of his bank account there’s no, you know, nothing can be, he can’t be defrauded, he can’t do something silly so that’s peace of mind as well.

If family lived a long way away, they found it particularly difficult helping parents with their household and care management, including paying care bills. It helped to have a trusted local person to keep an eye on things.

 

Tracey found ways of managing her mum’s post to help her keep on top of bills.

Tracey found ways of managing her mum’s post to help her keep on top of bills.

Age at interview: 59
Sex: Female
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She’d forgotten when she was paying the next bill; well in the end I had to have the bills come here because she wasn’t paying them. So I had to do, by that time we’d got Power of Attorney and; yeah, so it’s all, you know, it’s all there...

So you just gradually took over?

Yeah, gradually took over and then that’s when her cleaner opened her post and send me pictures of things she thought was urgent and things [I laughs] and maybe sent some stuff down and; so that worked really well, yeah, that did, yeah. I don’t know how, I don’t think we could have done that without her really, I would have had to do something, because I wouldn’t have wanted to, the carers to open up her post.

Preventing unwise spending and scams

Family members were also worried about their older relatives being scammed or over-spending. Having Lasting Power of Attorney for finances was helpful and it could also be re-assuring for the older person to know that a family member was checking their accounts.

 

Jennifer’s son keeps an eye on all her banking.

Jennifer’s son keeps an eye on all her banking.

Age at interview: 74
Sex: Female
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But they have given, I mean they have Power of Attorney, all of them and my eldest son is in charge of my finances anyway and the bank knows, you know, so I don’t have, I can’t spend my money irresponsibly because they will contact him [laughs].

 

The bank refunded the money when Sarah noticed her parents’ had paid out to an unknown insurer.

The bank refunded the money when Sarah noticed her parents’ had paid out to an unknown insurer.

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They couldn’t manage their own finances at all, I mean they just, you know, they were, they were so vulnerable that you just you know, we just took over that completely, it was needed. I mean my dad was scammed once but we did, I mean we managed to get the money back from the bank because they, you know, some company had rung him up and got him to pay for some insurance that he didn’t need or whatever, health insurance, and but… So, you know, when people are very vulnerable like that you need it, don’t you, you need somebody to sort of take over your finances and your care like that, definitely.

Well I, it [laughs] because we had Power of Attorney, you know, I could keep an eye on things and obviously it just, it was just flagged up on his statement, saw it on the statement and questioned it and when I rang the bank they were aware of this company so he did get his money back. But yeah, I think at that point we sort of took the card and; he didn’t know anyway, you know, he’d no idea, so it was just easier for them not to have you know, when they were on, if they, if anybody rang or they were on their own we just took charge completely, that side of things, for them.

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